I don’t know

Many times I get parents who have questions from their kids they can’t answer. Kids love to ask hard questions about God, life, death, sickness, injustice, heaven, hell, the Bible etc. I think we get frustrated when we can’t articulate answers. I used to think I had all the answers or I was somehow coming up short. I thought being a good pastor, father, and Christian meant I had to have an answer for everything. Now I have changed the way I think. Here’s how I’ve come to think.

  1. If we had all the answers we wouldn’t need faith. Faith is about the unknown as much as it is the unseen. We can’t know everything there is to know. Some things just take faith. If we knew everything that is in the mind of God we wouldn’t need to trust Him daily. God wants us to lean on Him when we don’t know the answers. If God gave us everything we needed including all the answers, we would be tempted to not rely on Him.
  2. God is bigger than us. I know this one is obvious but it needs repeating. If God was able to be completely comprehended by our finite minds He wouldn’t be a God worth serving. I know that statement might challenge your belief system. Our minds and comprehension is limited. When we are young we think we are all knowing and invincible. Age brings wisdom for most of us. God is so powerful, so vast, so marvelous that we can’t wrap our minds around all He is. Angels in heaven sing His praises for eternity, each moment having a glimpse of His glorious might revealed. Our small minds can’t fathom the depths of His love and therefore can’t entirely know his character.

So as parents what do we do when our kids have questions that challenge our faith?

  1. Don’t freak out. When you freak out kids stop telling you things. Sometimes they are testing you.
  2. Realize it’s perfectly normal to have questions. There’s nothing wrong with your kids if they are asking these questions or having doubts. This is natural. A tested faith is a stronger faith.
  3. Be OK with not having all the answers. I think sometimes we think its bad to not have the answers because we want our kids to put their trust in us. Remember the ultimate goal in life is to train our kids to trust God.
  4. Be open about your own struggles of faith. Sharing your story helps your kids see an end or a least a progression to their story. Don’t think you have to appear invincible to your kids. Think about how much you connect with a pastor when they are vulnerable. Do the same with your kids.
  5. Teach your kids to pray. Here’s a crazy idea. Show your kids how to talk to God and bring their questions. You don’t know everything but He does.
  6. Teach your kids how to read the Bible. Get them some devotional books. Use our placemats and devotional materials from church. Use the SOAP method (read more here or here).
  7. See if you can find the answers. Some questions can be answered if you dig in yourself. Ask a pastor. Google it but be prepared that not all answers are created equal.

Book Review – The Matheny Manifesto

MMbook

I am a baseball fan. More so than just a baseball fan I am a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. Some of my earliest memories are watching the Cardinals play. I remember watching them beat the Brewers in game seven to win the World Series. That being said, when Mike Matheny was named manager of the Cardinals after Tony La Russa retired, I scratched my head in confusion. I get it now.

Mike tells his story of taking over a little league team and the infamous letter he wrote and read to the parents of this team. It’s amazing to think that a man went from coaching little league-rs to coaching big league-rs in just a matter of years. Mike shares some of his personal story of succeeding in baseball as a tool to share wisdom about sports and life in general. His throwback and unconventional approach yielded the results he promised.

Mike shares some great advice for parents, coaches and kids developing in youth sports. He also gives 8 keys to success. Nothing in this book was new or mind-blowing to me. I did find the book to be down to earth and an easy read. Baseball fans should definitely enjoy the book. I found myself laughing at times and tearing up at others.

My personal favorite take away was Mike talking about how parents need to be silent and supportive in the stands while watching their children play sports.It made me think how we have it reversed in life. We are loud and vocal in the stand but silent at home when it comes to faith matters. The opposite should be true.

If you’re a parent, baseball fan, youth coach, or mentor I highly suggest this book.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my review.

Leadership Lessons from Paintball

A few of our pastors, staff, and leaders went paintballing this weekend in honor of our pastors’ birthdays. I saw a few things about the winning teams that I think relate to leadership and teamwork. The team that performed better and won had a few things that they did well.

They had a strategy and executed it. They didn’t just go out and wait to see what happened, they went and made it happen.

They communicated well. They talked about where their adversaries were and what their game plan was.

They took more risks and were bolder. There is a risk to faith. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

They moved as a team. They kept moving and pressing forward. They advanced as a team together. They didn’t have one lone ranger running alone.